Powers of AttorneyPLANNING FOR YOUR FUTURE is about protecting and providing for the people you love. The need for emergency financial and healthcare documents is an especially difficult subject to broach in estate planning. Thinking about what would happen if we were to get ill or seriously hurt is not easy. We tend to put it off since we say to ourselves “we have plenty of time”, “I’ll do it when I’m older” or “it will never happen to me”. The fact is that we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. If you cannot speak for yourself, your loved ones and healthcare providers can be unclear about the medical treatments and choices you would want as well as who should be making such decisions. The first step in estate planning is to ensure that your loved ones do not go through such a difficult process during an already emotional time. Meyer Law Firm highly recommends that every individual have the following emergency documents:

5 Critical Emergency Documents

1. Durable Power of Attorney

 Note: The Durable Power of Attorney law was revised in October 2011. The changes put in extra protection to ensure that your Durable Power of Attorney is quickly accepted at financial institutions when needed.

Durable powers of attorney are created to protect you if you become incapacitated. It allows you to appoint someone you trust to manage your financial and personal affairs in the event that you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated. By appointing someone you trust, you can help ensure financial decisions are made with your best interests at heart.

2. Designation of Health Care Surrogate

A health care power of attorney, also called a health care surrogate designation, allows you to appoint a trusted individual to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself.

3. HIPAA Release Authority

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) contains strict standards regarding the release of your health information without authorization. The HIPAA law requires healthcare providers to get written authorization from a patient before they can share medical records with caregivers or even close relatives. This law is meant to protect a patient’s privacy but can cause problems when a well-meaning caregiver needs information to make a medical decision or to get a second medical opinion. The HIPAA Release allows medical records to be provided to a third party you may specify, such as a relative or caregiver, so that they have the necessary information to make sound medical decisions based on your wishes.

4. Living Will Declaration (Also known as a Healthcare Directive)

A living will states your wishes as to life-sustaining procedures you want or do not want. A living will is only used if you are not able to make your own decisions. If your loved ones need to make decisions based on verbal statements you have made or what they believe is in your best interests it can be a heartwrenching decision without a living will.

5. Declaration of Preneed Guardian

The Declaration of Preneed Guardian lets you name a preferred guardian in the event a court were to deem you incapacitated. If you do not name a Guardian, the courts may appoint a stranger as guardian to care for you.

You and your family will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have set a plan for emergency financial and medical situations.

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